Nick Kyrgios is internationally renowned for his tennis career. The Australian tennis star has been extremely open about his mental health struggles and the impact fame has had on his personal life. Understanding celebrities’ mental health journeys furthers the conversation about seeking professional help when necessary and combats the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Nick Kyrgios’ Impressive Career So Far
Nick Kyrgios’ career as an Australian tennis player gone global started when he was just 14 years old, when he put basketball on hold to focus solely on his tennis career. He attended the Australian Sport Institute at the age of 16 on a full scholarship, where he was able to develop his tennis skills further. Kyrgios’ professional career began at the 2012 Australian Open, and in 2013 he won his first challenger tour title at 17 years old.
Since then, he’s competed and triumphed over some of the world’s greatest players. Most recently, Kyrgios became the first man in the history of the Citi Open to win Doubles and Singles titles in the same year (2022).
Tennis Player Mental Health: In His Own Words
A successful career doesn’t equate to a lack of challenges in one’s life, and Nick Kyrgios has been open about his mental health struggles. Despite his rise to stardom, Kyrgios faces a personal battle with depression, self-harm, bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse. In an interview with Wide World of Sports, transcribed by CNN, he said his mental health has pushed him “…to the point of self-harm.” The star admitted to pushing away people who cared about him and failing to communicate during this challenging time. He also shared that he felt he was letting others down because of his mental health struggle.
Said Kyrgios, “I was abusing alcohol a lot, drugs, and that spiraled out of control. Now, I barely drink, I literally have a glass of wine at dinner. That was the initial kind of thing I had to clean up a little bit and then build my relationship back with my family and get into healthier habits like the basics — like diet, getting good sleep, trying to train a little bit more and that was it.”
One of the difficulties Kyrgios admits to facing due to his stardom is backlash and criticism online, specifically nasty comments on social media. “I deal with it all the time,” he told Wide World of Sports in his interview. “People just think raising the finger, abusing someone or making racist comments is acceptable in this day and age, and I just don’t think that’s acceptable at all.”
Regarding his self-harming tendencies, Kyrgios shared an Instagram post explaining he has physical scars from cutting. “If you look closely, on my right arm you can see my self-harm. I was having suicidal thoughts and was literally struggling to get out of bed, let alone play in front of millions,” he said in February 2022. His message to others dealing with the same emotions and mental health conditions as his was “I know that day-to-day life can seem extremely exhausting, impossible at times. I understand that you feel if you open up it may make you feel weak, or scared. I’m telling you right now, it’s OK, you are not alone.”
Kyrgios’ Mental Health Battle
Nick Kyrgios has shared his experience with several mental health disorders, including depression and the presence of suicidal thoughts, resulting in self-harm. The tennis player has also been open about his abuse of alcohol and drugs as a way of coping with his suicidal thoughts and depression. Fortunately, acknowledging his struggle and reducing his alcohol consumption has gotten Kyrgios’ life back on track.
He says, “I’m proud to say I’ve completely turned myself around and have a completely different outlook on everything, I don’t take one moment for granted.”
Does Fame Increase the Risk of Mental Health Struggles?
While the DSM-5 doesn’t officially cite fame as a risk factor for developing mental illness, there are some circumstances surrounding fame that can make it challenging for celebrities to cope. One factor in modern times that was mentioned by Nick Kyrgios as affecting his own mental health battle was online comments and bullying from individuals on social media. He says people made racist remarks and unkind comments about his body and weight.
Celebrities who are constantly exposed to negative commentary through Instagram, Twitter or other outlets may find they’re prone to depression as a result. A 2021 study conducted among Undergraduate Health Students found that bullying and clinical depression were linked.
Why Public Figures Need to Talk About Mental Health
Public figures like athletes, musicians and actors need to speak out about their mental health struggles for a number of reasons. Primarily, continuing to have honest conversations about mental health disorders and the fact that anyone can experience these conditions helps end the stigma. The more normalized it is to talk about mental health, the less intimidating it is to seek professional help. About 45% of Americans with clinical level mental health disorders aren’t seeking the treatment they need.
When celebrities discuss how online comments and bullying affect their mental health, it encourages kids and teens to be mindful of how their words, in person and online, impact the lives of others. Approximately 20% of students aged 12-18 in America report being bullied.
If you or someone you love is experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call 9-8-8 for the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
Accusations Against Nick Kyrgios
Tennis player substance abuse scandals surrounding Nick Kyrgios are a reminder of the impact untreated mental health disorders can have. The Canberra Times reported in July 2022 that Nick Kyrgios was expected to appear in court on August 2, 2022, in response to claims from his ex-girlfriend, Chiara Passari. Kyrgios is facing a charge of domestic violence that carries two years of jail time.
This is a serious allegation, and mental illness and substance abuse are no excuse for domestic violence or assault in any circumstance. Treating mental health conditions like depression, bipolar disorder and addiction is critical to bettering the life of the individual and those around them.
Help Is Always Available
If you’re struggling with any mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism or drug addiction, the team at FHE Health is here to support your journey to recovery. Our team of counselors is on standby 24/7 to take your call at (833) 596-3502. We can help you develop a treatment plan that meets your needs and fits your lifestyle.